India and Pakistan may have more in common than just the Bollywood craze, cricket and never-ending Kashmir debates. Fashion from across the border could be the latest cultural exchange between the two nations. A showcaseof creations by 17 Pakistani designers in the city could be a small step in that direction. Designer Zahabiya Jam, who retails in Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad and Lahore, says about fashion in Pakistan: “Karachi is one of the most fashionable cities in the country. Here, both formal and casual wear have a lot of flared silhouettes, layering and play of textures.” Jam grew up in Karachi and studied design in the city before turning to fashion.
Designer Ayesha Aejaz, on the other hand, lives in Mumbai, but retails in Karachi. She says, “There, people will step out in designer wear on a regular basis, something we don’t do here. But as opposed to embroidery-heavy designs (in India), it’s about minimalism, cuts, simplicity and grace in Pakistan.” There is also a focus on fabric, dominated by silk, chiffon, net and malai cotton (an especially soft variety). And Pakistani designer wear is surprisingly affordable — the designs at the event range from R5,000 to R15,000.
The designers reckon that there is a demand in India for contemporary anarkalis, peshwas (a high-bodice yoke) and the kantha and Warli work, with hand-painting and floral designs. But while the demand has always been there, the availability has been sporadic. Aejaz says, “Most people get Pakistani designs only when they go shopping in Dubai.” Hadi Anwar, CEO of Brands Just Pret (the Pakistan and Middle East-based multi-designer store organising this), says, “We have received queries from our friends in India to do an event.” And while this event is to test the waters here, they have future plans to retail in India and of taking Indian designs to Pakistan.
The collections will be displayed at Cache, The Arts and Craft Gallery, Bandra (W) on Sept 29 and 30.
For details, call 98206 40708